The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story by Jon F. Merz – Part Seven

The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story
By Jon F. Merz

Part Seven

I had mail waiting for me in the morning; I opened the manila envelope and took out the credentials I’d need to pose as a Canadian official, courtesy of a rush job by some talented vampires.  After a filling breakfast, I drove down the road out of town and snaked my way through the mountain passes that led to Satoshima.  As I drove, a small brook ran parallel to my route overgrown with tall reeds that hemmed the waterway.  The terrain sloped up at a severe angle from the road, disappearing into the mountains as I drove.

I reached Satoshima within about a half hour and stepped out of my car into a landscape that looked as though it had been forgotten by time.  A wooden sign marked the entrance to the town itself and a single main thoroughfare split the town in two, lined by small shops, a few tiny eateries, and a car repair place that looked like they still serviced Model Ts.  Beyond the thoroughfare, I could see a smattering of wooden houses that dotted the countryside, their peaked roofs sticking out of the foliage. 

The local police station was down the street snuggled up next to a noodle stand.  According to Niles’ file, one of the deaths was a Canadian citizen studying abroad for a year. 

As I walked in, the man in charge sized me up and rose from his desk.  His uniform was disheveled and wrinkled, which surprised me considering most of the Japanese police officers I’ve met have been utterly meticulous about their appearance when in official capacity.  But as I approached, I could smell the booze on this guy’s breath.  Something told me that he was happy pulling down a salary without needing to do any real work in a town this small and remote. 

I bowed once and then addressed him in fluent Japanese.  “Good morning.  Are you the chief of police here?”

The look of surprise on his face was evident.  But I’ve had years to perfect my language skills and most members of my race speak at least a dozen languages fluently.  And for those in my line of work, we learn even more in order to be able to operate internationally.

“I am.  And you are?”

“My name is Lawson,” I said flashing him my credentials.  “I’m with the Canadian embassy in Tokyo.”

He gave the documents a cursory look and then sat back down.  I could have probably showed him my old video rental card and he wouldn’t have known the difference.

“My name is Higashi.  I am the regional police supervisor for this area.”

He stuck out his hand and I shook it.  “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“What brings you to Satoshima, Lawson-san?”

I smiled with a touch of sadness in it.  “This unfortunate business with the death of the student, I’m afraid.”

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